A few weeks ago, I did an interview with guitar wizard MIKE KERR for his band The Mike Kerr band and now I am happy to bring to you another project he has put his heart into; FIRSTBOURE. This band is based out of Boston and has a very special vocalist in Adrienne Cowan who might sound familiar from her work with this band and also the metal band Amaranthe and Seven Spires. Along with these talented artists the band rounds out with Ven Thangaraj on bass and Joe Bertola on the drums.
FIRSTBOURNE’s first EP entitled RIOT brings in a broad range of fans with arena rock styling and a powerful and strong metal vibe. Attach that with some good songwriting, sing-able melodies, meaningful lyrics and some damn catchy hooks your palette will be wet and appetized with songs like PICK UP THE TORCH,CONTROL, WHEN MORNING BREAKS and the anthem sound of HOME.
I had a chance to speak with Adrienne and Mike about the formation of the band, how school defined them and also what the bands favorite tracks are on the EP.
HOW DID FIRSTBOURNE COME TOGETHER AND WHAT WERE YOU LOOKING FOR IN BAND MMEBERS WHEN PUTTING THIS PROJECT TOGETHER? Adrienne: FIRSTBOURNE was the result of years of collaboration between me and Mike – at some point after so many people saying we should form a band together, we finally did! I love everything about his artistic expressions; he is open-minded and totally old school when it comes to rock and metal, and this brings out parts of me that I don’t normally get to exercise. Ven was a longtime friend of Mike’s, as was Joe, so the lineup came together very easily.
WHO IS IN THE BAND AND TELL US WHAT THEY PLAY ONE MUISICIAL FACT ABOUT THEM AND ONE PERSONAL FACT ABOUT THEM? Adrienne: I am the vocalist and one of the writers, and I am a huge nerd when it comes to songwriting and composition. I have moved countless times in my life and lived overseas for six years, and I think this feeling of everywhere/nowhere being home has very much shaped who I am as a person and as an artist. Mike: My name is Mike Kerr, I’m the guitarist and one of the writers of this band. I’m also a guitarist of a disco band, country band, 80s cover band and my instrumental band the Mike Kerr group. I was raised as a butcher so I know how to use a knife. Ven Thangaraj is the bass player and aside of the music part of his life he runs several companies. Joe Bertola plays drums and is the owner of Bertola Custom home in Waltham, MA.
HAVING A FEMALE VOCALIST IN THE BAND WAS THAT THE IDEA YOU HAD WHEN PUTTING TOGETHER FIRSTBOURNE AND HOW DO YOU FEEL A FEMALES VOCAL RANGE ENHANCES A SONG? Adrienne: I have to say, I am really not super fond of questions like this. I am a vocalist and I write for my personal range and strengths, just like any other vocalist! Plus, there have never been any kind of thoughts like “Oh, well there’s a LADY in the band now, so we can only write ___ kind of songs” or anything like this.
ADRIENNE ALSO PLAYS WITH SEVERAL OTHER BANDS HOW DOES THAT WORK OUT FOR THIS BAND? Adrienne: I’ve operated this way ever since I started playing in bands when I was 15, so by now my time management is fantastic; It is fine! We work out when it would be best to book tons of shows for all of our schedules – mostly it is me and Mike who have crazy unavailability sometimes – and then we write remotely and continue to release videos and other things when it’s not time for FIRSTBOURNE to be on the road..
ARE YOU ALL FROM BERKLEE SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND HOW WAS THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE LOOKING BACK ON IT NOW? Adrienne: I am the only Berklee grad, actually, although Mike took guitar lessons from Joe Stump, who teaches there. I studied mostly composition, and although it was honestly the most grueling period of my life so far, the knowledge and connections I am armed with now in nothing short of indispensable.
YOU RELEASED RIOT BACK IN 2016 FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD THE BAND BEFORE HOW WOULD YOU HYPE UP THE RECORD AS A WHOLE? Mike Kerr: Crossover of old school hard rock with modern symphonic metal.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TRACK YOU WROTE ON THIS RECORD AND WHY? Adrienne: My personal favorite track is “HOME” – it’s just honest. Mike Kerr: My favorite track is PRETEND: love the composition and dynamics
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TRACK TO PLAY LIVE OFF THE RECORD AND WHY? Adrienne: I really enjoy playing “CONTROL” and “WHEN MORNING BREAKS” live. They’re entirely different haha, “CONTROL” is just fun to be a little pissed off, and “WHEN MORNING BREAKS” is a chance to exercise my super clean singing chops. Mike: I love to play RIOT! It is pentatonic land for me and Pick up the torch because it has the most Shreddy solo :D
YOU GUYS ARE BASED OUT OF BOSTON BUT FOR ONE OF YOUR FIRST TOURS YOU WENT TO CHINA. HOW DID THAT GET PUT TOGETHER AND HOW WAS THE TOUR ON A WHOLE? Adrienne: The tour itself was an amazing experience! JOYO and Chaser were so good to us, and the crowds every night were wonderful to us. On a personal note, I am half Asian, and it was the first time I’d ever had the chance to see that part of the world.
THE BAND SEEMS TO HAVE FANS WORLDWIDE FOR A BAND WHO IS GETTING STARTED AND WANTS TO HAVE SUCCESS LIKE THIS CAN YOU GIVE THEM SOME ADVICE ON HOW YOU GUYS GOT YOUR NAME NOT ONLY OUT IN THE STATES BUT PRETTY MUCH WORLDWIDE? Adrienne: These days, we live in a digital and borderline-narcissistic world. Social media has been an incredibly useful tool for us when it comes to reaching and interacting with fans outside of the US, or even fans in states we haven’t visited yet. But the way I look at it, good self-promotion is about developing the ability to read and adapt to an ever-changing environment.
HAS THERE BEEN WORK ON A NEW CD AND IF SO HOW HAVE YOU GUYS GROWN AS MUSICIANS AND WHEN MIGHT WE SEE A NEW ALBUM? Adrienne: Mike and I have been working on a new album, yes! Of course, all of us are always pushing ourselves to become better as individual musicians. But, the writing process for the new album is much more collaborative – “RIOT” was a collection of mostly songs we had written on our own and brought to the group, but the next album is truly songs that are ours together. When the album is unveiled remains to be seen!
HOW CAN PEOPLE PICK UP THE MUSIC OR STAY IN TOUCH WITH THE BAND? We are on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, everywhere! Physical CDs are available on our website and merch booth at shows, and we’re pretty active on Facebook and other social medias.
ANY LAST COMMENTS?
Mike Kerr: Just a message to the fans: Get out of bed and go get what you are worth 🤘
SAVING ABEL LIVE PALLADIUM IN WORCESTER, MA SEPT. 27TH, 2017 BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
If you want to have a good ol” time at a rock show these days then a SAVING ABEL show is something you might want to catch. The guys came to town with SOIL and Kirra at the Palladium in Worcester, MA and they out did themselves in the non-air-conditioned room that night. With sweat pouring from every limb the boys gave it their all.
The interaction with the crowd to the all-out energy that comes out of the charismatic singer Scotty Austin is just incredible. They bring the south right to you onstage with that southern gritty guitar work. The guys really used their time well playing some of the guys favorite tracks like DROWNING (FACEDOWN) to the hits that got them the huge fanbase they have around the states like 18 DAYS, ADDICTED, THE SEX IS GOOD.
If you are looking for a good simple, down home, charming and straight up rock n roll show with some amazing and nice guys then hit up a SAVING ABEL show if they come to your town. I was able to get some snippets of the band in the stage life so check out the video and the tour dates listed below and go hang out, drink some beers, be a part of the band for a evening and just have a good ol’ southern rock time with SAVING ABEL
CHATTING IT UP WITH THE NEARLY DEADS BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
The Pop rock and energy driven sounds of THE NEARLY DEADS is on the rise with the release of the bands EP REVENGE OF THE NEARLY DEADS. The Nashville, TN is made up of Theresa Jeane - Vocals and Keys, Steven Tobi - Lead Guitar, Kevin Koelsch – Bass, Javier Garza Jr. - Rhythm Guitar, Josh Perrone – Drums
I had the chance to chat with Theresa Jeane about the positive and empowered lyrics she writes, what makes up a good song in her eyes and how the fans have captured the bands hearts.
STAY IN CONTACT WITH THE THE BAND: Facebook: @thenearlydeads Instagram: @thenearlydeadsofficial Twitter: @thenearlydeads
WHAT MAKES THE NEARLY DEADS STICK OUT VERSUS OTHER FEMALE FRONTED ROCK BANDS OUT THERE THESE DAYS? TJ: We love all our fellow ladies out there, and we have toured and played with several other bands that are not only female fronted, but all-female, or have a female guitarist, bassist, or drummer! I that I think each and every one of us has something different to offer. I think THE NEARLY DEADS has a good mix of pop vocals with grungy instrumentals, plus I can sit behind the piano and belt out a ballad if I need to as well. I like to think that our musicianship makes us stand out.
HOW DID YOU GUYS ALL COME TOGETHER AND IS ANY OF THE MEMBERS FROMOTHER BANDS WE WOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT? TJ: I met the other founding members of the band back in Tampa FL. I was in a duo called Blondes Not Bombs, and Steve Tobi and our original drummer was in a band called Dangerflight. When we all moved up to Nashville to get more serious about our music careers, they were in need of a new vocalist, so I sheepishly auditioned, thinking they’d want nothing to do with a female lead. Most people don’t know I technically replaced a guy! We started by re-writing old songs to fit my vocal range, but shortly ended up crafting our own unique sound.
HOW DID YOU GUYS ALL DECID E YOU WANTED TO MAKE MUSIC A CAREER AND HOW OLD WERE YOU? TJ: I think I speak for all of us when I say music has been a lifelong passion. All of us have music related degrees or have attended musician institutes. I have personally always wanted to write music for film, so I will say that this career in the rock and roll world was something I kind of stumbled upon later in life. There was a time when I first heard bands like Something Corporate, Evanescence, and My Chemical Romance and was like “I want to do that”.
YOU JUST RELEASED A EP ENTITLED REVENGE OF THE NEARLY DEADS WHEN DID IT COME OUT AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND TO PEOPLE? TJ: REVENGE OF THE NEARLY DEADS came out earlier this year and we are very proud of it. We’ve got soaring vocals and grungy instrumentals, sing-along parts and a piano ballad - all on one EP. We decided to do just 6 tracks so there was no filler and we could release the music sooner to our diehard fans who were hungry for new music.
HOW DID YOU HOOK UP WITH KOBALT MUSIC? AND WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT FOR THE FUTURE WITH THEM? TJ: We’re very excited to be working with Kobalt and had the chance to meet with them while on our last tour at Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood CA. As an independent band, it’s a huge deal to be able to have help with distribution, and we’ll have the chance to grow with them as our careers progress.
WHAT IS THE 3 MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS TO MAKE A GOOD SONG IN YOUR OPINION? TJ: 1. The lyrics have to make sense if you were reading them like a sentence. 2. The chord progression has to be able to flow on piano as well as guitar. It can’t be just riffs the entire way through! 3. Every instrument needs to play their role, and nothing can overpower the message or the vocal line.
LYRICALLY HOW DO YOU APPROACH TOPICS OR STORIES YOU WANT TO WRITE ABOUT AND DO YOU GUYS TRY TO KEEP A POSITIVE VIBE THROUGH LYRICS FOR YOUR FANS? TJ: My whole approach is that if I can get through something, anybody can. I try to empower people and let them know they’re not alone. We try to write about things that are easily relatable and steer clear of polarizing topics. Rock and Roll is all about having a good time and living life to the fullest, plus we want to write music that is fun to play live. We want to give people an escape and a safe space to be themselves when they’re at our shows.
WHAT HAVE FANS FROM YOUR VIEWPOINT LOVED ABOUT YOUR BAND OR THE WAY YOU WRITE AND HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU GUYS TO LISTEN AND GIVE BACK TO YOUR FANS? TJ: Our fans are everything to us! I think what people love the most is that we are accessible and genuinely care about them. We started crowdfunding early on in the band, and we are so humbled and blown away by the love people have shown us over the years. We are always thinking of ways to give back and get fans involved. A lot of our fans have actually become close friends and we love meeting them every night on tour at our merch table. We’re always here to listen and try to answer every message. We know that we need them just as much as they need us. We’re lucky to have so many amazing people all over the world supporting us.
YOU WON AN AWARD IN YOUR HOMETOWN FOR BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR LIVE SHOW? TJ: We like to have a lot of fun and keep the energy going from start to finish. It’s important to us to play perfectly every night and give people their money’s worth, no matter how large or small the crowd may be.
DO YOU FEEL A LIVE SHOW PERFORMANCE IS AS IMPORTANT AS WRITING A GOOD SONG AND WHAT THREE ELEMENTS DO YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO BRING A KILLER LIVE SHOW? TJ: Well, if you’ve got a bad song in the studio, it’s still going to be a bad song live! Songwriting and playing your instrument perfectly is always number one and anything less is a disservice to the fans. We love adding filler tracks and bass drops to the live show to make it even more epic. I love playing songs live because it ALWAYS has more energy than the recorded version. To have a killer live show you need 1. To sing and play flawlessly every night. No one wants to pay to see a train wreck on stage. 2. A good flow from song to song. 3. Good crowd interaction. I love talking to people from the stage and making a personal connection with the fans
WHAT SONG GOES OFF THE BEST LIVE AND WHY? TJ: I think DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH sounds great live. I love all of our songs, but there’s just something about the opening riff that when it ends and the whole band kicks in has so much more energy on stage than on the record. It also sounds bigger and heavier live, which I love.
ANY PRE-SHOW RITUALS YOU GUYS HAVE? TJ: We stretch! Really! You’ll never last on the road with a ‘bang-over’ every single day. You’ve got to do some neck rolls, some toe touches, and stretch out your quads and hammies when you do as much moving around as we do on stage! I also do vocal warm ups to stretch my voice out. I usually stay pretty hidden before a show but always come out to chat after we’re done.
ONE BAND YOU WOULD LOVE TO TOUR WITH AND WHY? TJ: We would love to tour with Halestorm one day! We’ve opened for them a few times and it’s been magical. They’re paving the way for female fronted bands and I think a tour with them would be badass.
YOU HAVE DONE A TON OF VIDEOS FOR SOME OF YOUR SONGS. WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITES TO SHOOT AND WHY? TJ: NEVER LOOK BACK will always be my favorite. It was the beginning of everything. We shot it for no money, in my basement, with a bunch of our friends all dressed up as zombies covered in oatmeal and corn syrup. I’ll remember that weekend the rest of my life. That video has been seen and shared so many times and is the reason we are able to continue to keep doing what we do. But when we made it we had no idea any of this would happen. It was an innocent time that just can’t be captured again.
WHAT IS THE TOUR PLANS FOR THE NEARLY DEADS AND HOW CAN PEOPLE KEEP UP WITH NEW TOUR DATES ETC? TJ: We’re stoked to be touring this October with our friends in Blameshift! We’ve also got a show coming up on 10/10 with Wednesday 13 and Eyes Set to Kill, and on 10/17 the tour is playing with Bumblefoot in Westland, MI. We’re planning one more tour before the end of the year so stay tuned to our Bandsintown, Facebook, and Instagram accounts!
I SEE YOUR INTO ZOMEBIES AND MOVIES AND WITH OCT COMING SOON WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HORROR OR SCI FLICK AND WHY? TJ: I will always love The Shining. It’s such an iconic, classic film and they just don’t make them like that anymore.
ANY LAST COMMENTS? TJ: Thank you for the support and don’t forget to check out our merch store at merchnow.com/thenearlydeads for all your TND needs!
POWERMAN 5000--NEW WAVE Pavement Entertainment Release: October 27, 2017 By: Jackie Ryan
The boys of POWERMAN 5000 will be releasing their 11the album NEW WAVE at the end of October. It starts off with FOOTSTEPS AND VOICES, a very powerful song that gets you pumped to listen to what these boys have to say with this new album. Electronica mixed with hard hitting drums really pulls the songs together. SPIDER'S vocals are on point with its raspy-ness. HOSTAGE is a bit heavier and hits you right in the face. Reminds me a bit of Marilyn Manson with a more rock n roll vibe. Ryan Hernandez and Ty Oliver have a good ear for listening to their members and giving it their all throughout the album. DIE ON YOUR FEET, really shows the hard-hitting drums of DJ Rattan. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE brings more electronica and some interesting bass riffs.
The album title NEW WAVE really is summed up by SPIDER’s quote about how they make their music; "After all these years, I feel like the band gets better with every record and tour. I’ve never lost the enthusiasm that I had from those early days and always want to treat each new album as if it’s our first. I’m not interested in the past, just creating the future. A big, loud, crazy future!" It feels like these boys really put their heart and soul into each song and ultimately each album. Make sure to check it out October 27th!!
RISE AMONG RIVALS MARYLAND'S ROCK SCENE JUST GOT A LITTLE BETTER
BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
I love when bands have personalities and when I met the Maryland band RISE AMONG RIVALS they made me love them without even listening to a lick of music. The welcoming of new people in their circle, the funny antics and the sarcasm was in full swing and it was a pleasure to meet them.
Then the music came into play and it just seduced my soul. The rock music these guys play is already professionally sounding, its thick with the melodic tones, vocals soar bringing you on the eventful adventure like on their song SPITEFUL EYES. In my opinion, I find them playing along the lines of Muse, Breaking Benjamin and Otherwise, Nothing More type of vibe.
The guys just finished up a small tour with Flaw and are back in their hometown working on the finishing touches of the band’s first EP.
So, before life got too busy for this new band I was able to catch up with them and find out a little more about them
TELL ME HOW RISE AMONG RIVALS CAME TO BE AND WHO IS IN THE BAND WHAT DO YOU PLAY? We were the combination of two Maryland bands, Guns Out At Sundown (GOAS) and Violence In Vanity (VIV). After both of the projects had broken up and decided to move on, we joined together to create RISE AMONG RIVALS. Our Drummer, Christopher Tepper, from GOAS, was the glue for bringing these two projects into one. Singer/Guitarist, Dave Gascon, and Bassist Jamey McElroy had both been starting a new project after VIV’s last show and then Chris stumbled onto our lives.
WHAT THREE BANDS FROM THE PAST BEST SHOWCASES THE BAND INFLUENCES AND THEN WHAT THREE NEWER BANDS (NEW BANDS AS IN BEEN OUT IN THE LAST TWO YEARS OR SO? DO THE SAME FOR YOU? For the major hard rock scene, acts like 30 Seconds to Mars, Shinedown, and Breaking Benjamin are certainly big band influences of ours - but a lot of our other influences are taken from various genres and bands for sure. Newer bands that have completely wowed us would be Hidden Hospitals, Speech Patterns, and Nothing More.
PICK ONE OF THE THREE NEWER BANDS YOU NAMED, IF YOU COULD TOUR WITH JUST ONE OF THEM WHICH ONE WOULD YOU LOVE TO TOUR WITH AND WHAT ONE CONVERSATION WOULD YOU LOVE TO HAVE WITH THEM WHILE OUT ON THE ROAD THAT WOULD HELP YOU GUYS GROW AS MUSICIANS? Being able to tour with Nothing More would be absolutely incredible, honestly any conversation with those guys would help us grow as musicians, they are definitely one of the few that have grown from a small act into a huge act through their music and business strategies.
IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ONE OF THE OLDER BANDS YOU NAMED AS INFLUENCES, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU PICK AND WHAT TYPE OF SONG WOULD YOU WANT TO TRY TO WRITE WITH THEM? 30 Seconds to Mars would probably be the best option since our sound is probably furthest away from theirs. It’d be really interesting to combine our styles to produce something over the top and that’s a complete headbanger mixed with the 30 Seconds to Mars ambient/digital sound.
I RECENTLY SAW YOU GUYS WITH FLAW IN RHODE ISLAND. HOW DID YOU NAIL THOSE DATES AND HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE PLAYING TO AREAS YOU MIGHT HAVE NOT PLAYED BEFORE? We were contacted by our booking agent to see if we wanted to accept a one-week tour as the direct support for FLAW, which we accepted and RI happened to be one of those dates. We had an amazing time touring with them from TN all the way to RI and then down to Chesapeake VA. For some of us, the cities we played in were completely new to us and it was an awesome experience just walking the towns for the short time we were able to. Definitely wild, definitely a new adventure - that is 100% what this band is about.
IN YOUR OPINION FOR A LIVE SHOW WHAT IS THE THREE ESSENTIAL THINGS A BAND NEED TO BRING TO A STAGE SHOW AND DO YOU FEEL YOU BRING THOSE THREE AND WAS ANY HARDER TO ACCOMPLISH THAN OTHERS?
Confidence, Energy, and a variety of drugs. We need more drugs.
I HAVE JUST HEARD ONE TRACK FROM YOU GUYS CALLED SPITEFUL EYES WHERE DID THE LYRICAL CONTENT COME FROM AND HOW WAS THE SONGWRITING FOR THIS TRACK? “I wrote the riffs on the John. Tracked them to a cassette disk and had some friends beat box over it while Dave sat in the corner and sang” That’s actually how we write all our music.
IS THERE A FULL LENGTH OR EP YOU GUYS ARE LOOKING TO RELEASE SOON AND DOES THE REST OF THE RECORD RESEMBLE THE SOUND OF SPITEFUL EYES OR ARE YOU BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN MELODY AND HARDER EDGE STUFF? We are currently back and forth between the studio finishing up our EP but we don’t have a set date to drop those songs on the public yet, definitely have some bolts that still need to be tightened before we move forward with that. As far as the sound goes, we plan on bridging the gap between melodic vocals and heavy riffs by adding a newer digital sound and ambience to our songs
DO YOU GUYS HAVE ANY RECORD LABEL BUZZ GOING ON AND IF NOT, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN THAT ASPECT OF YOUR CAREER? AND ANY LABEL THAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO BE ON AND WHY? We currently don’t have any prospects, but we plan to shop out the EP we are working on before any public debut. Our agents have been working hard and super supportive of this EP. Looking forward we’d love to work with Roadrunner, needless to say the major acts on it are our influences so it makes sense to try and aim that direction.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF BEING IN A BAND AND THE HARDEST PART ABOUT IT? A two-part question that can be answered in two words: The Brotherhood. Both the best part and the hardest part. We have gotten extremely close as a band and we are excited to be on the road together moving forward, but at the same time seeing the same people every single day is extremely difficult as well. In the words of Chris - “We gotta brodown”
IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THE BAND THING WHAT OTHER PASSIONS DO YOU HAVE OUTSIDE OF THE BAND AND HAS THOSE PASSION ENHANCED OR INFLUENCED YOU GUYS AS MUSICIANS? We each have other passions outside of the band for sure; Jamey started his own printing company that helps band get merch for cheaper than mainstream alternatives, Dave has a passion for forging metals and making knives and swords (fucking metal!), and Last year Chris started a backwoods inspired urban accessory line called Mounatin Blood - Handmade. So, if he had to step away from music he’d spend his time making purses, bookbags, keychains, etc, out of roadkill. Thats right… Roadkill
HOW CAN PEOPLE KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOU Right now the best way is just going to our pages Instagram: @RiseAmongRivals Facebook : @riseamongrivals
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO LET FANS KNOW ABOUT YOURSELVES OR YOUR MUSIC WE DIDN’T GET TO? Butts.
PLAY A GAME ….THIS OR THAT
BEER OR HARD LIQUOR? Malt Liquor
FOOTBALL OR HOCKEY? Curling
HAMBURGERS OR WEINERS? Weiners for sure
BLONDES OR BRUNETTES? Black and nappy
DISCO MUSIC OR POP MUSIC? Jewish Deathcore
SUMMER OR WINTER? Fall
GAMES OF THRONES OR WALKING DEAD? Last Man on Earth featuring Will Forte
DEVIANTS UNITE TOGETHER IN EXILE BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
TOGETHER IN EXILE is a band from the Tampa Bay, Florida area. The guys have a knack of bringing metal into a hard rock melody driven atmosphere. The smoldering dark elements that shine through the band’s first full length album DESTROY SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL is just the tip of the iceberg for this band. They reel you in with catchy hooks, groovy aspects and hard-hitting beats. Lyrically delightful with strong words to make you think, chant with glee and make you love the ones you hold close and dear to you.
Since the release of DESTROY SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL in 2015 the band has been busy with playing shows, and creating self-produced videos for a visual look into songs like DEVIANT, ALMOST HUMAN,THE STARS DIE TONIGHT. With all that happening they still had time to create a new set of songs for a new album coming out in the near future.
TOGETHER IN EXILE sparked my interest because of the overall good music they put out along with the way they connect with fans; bringing the sense of community within the “deviant” or “unnormal”. The band thinks out of the box when it comes to writing, creating a visual aspect for all the live shows and gives you plenty to think about with story lines within each track. Straight forward, dark, heavy and melodic that is TOGETHER IN EXILE in a nutshell.
I had a chance to chat with Matty (guitar) and Thomas (vocals) about what each band member brings into the band, some of my favorite tracks off the album and all about putting on a live show.
WHO IS TOGETHER IN EXILE AND WHAT DOES EACH MEMBER OF THE BAND BRING INTO THE BAND ON A MUSICAL AND BUSINESS ASPECT TO MAKE YOU WHO YOU ARE TODAY?
TOGETHER IN EXILE is: Thomas Crane - vocals Matty Exile - Guitar Brad Balsama - Guitar Ilyn Nathaniel - Bass Danny Cayocca - Drums
THOMAS: Everyone brings something to the table to make the band what it is, creatively and logistically. Matty is kind of like a mad scientist. Just lock him in a room with a guitar and some cigarettes and he comes up with these sick riffs. All the music starts with him. Then he hands me the song and tells me to do something with it. I do all the vocals, lyrics, themes, etc,. Then when we get a song to a point that we feel comfortable moving forward, we all get in a room together and make those subtle tweaks that help improve it. In addition, Ilyn designs our album artwork and most of our merch. I produce the music videos (with help from everyone). Danny and Brad handle a lot of the business and accounting with the band, because that's just not something every person is suited to do.
There's a lot to a band that people don't see. That 45 minutes on stage is maybe 5% of a band's operation. There's rehearsals, loading and unloading gear, dealing with promoters, preparing and accounting merch, dealing with management, ordering burritos, etc.
BEING FROM THE TAMPA. FLORIDA AREA HOW HAS THAT HELPED IN YOUR SUCCESS OF THE BAND THUS FAR? AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE MUSIC SCENE IN THE AREA?
THOMAS: The music scene in Tampa is a lot more diverse than people think. It's been known forever as the death metal capital of America, and yes, metal is still the primary genre driving things here - but there's still a lot of variety. We have a lot of great friends in other bands that we've made in this area. Everyone knows one another and tries to help each other out. It's a pretty cool place to call your home.
YOU GUYS ALL CAME FROM OTHER BANDS WHAT ASPECTS OF THOSE BANDS DID YOU BRING INTO TOGETHER IN EXILE?
THOMAS: Everyone has their own influences, obviously from a creative standpoint, that they bring into the band. But in addition to that, I think everyone takes their past band experience as a learning experience too. Being in a band is like being married to 4 other people. It can be awesome sometimes. But it can be frustrating sometimes too. You live and learn on how to deal with problems that arise. But that's pretty typical of any group activity. Having past band experience helps you deal with current issues and resolve them to move forward.
DEFINE WHAT THE BAND NAME MEANS TO YOU AND HOW DOES THAT TIE INTO THE OVERALL VIBE OF WHAT YOU GUYS WRITE ABOUT?
MATTY: Together In Exile is a proclamation of what we stand for. Our music is about uniting people who deviate from the norm. People who live by an alternate standard. They may be exiled by society, but we welcome them with open arms.
THOMAS: We went through several band name ideas before we landed on this one, which Matty came up with. It was an immediate "yes" from me. I like the concept of uniting people who are thought of as outcasts. Because we fucking are.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD SONG IN YOUR EYES AS A MUSICIAN?
MATTY: It has to move people, especially live. Each song has a very distinguishable feel to it. If I'm not nodding my head along when writing, it gets scrapped.
THOMAS: I'm a sucker for a good melody. Don't get me wrong, I love heavy guitars - but to keep my interest and keep me coming back for more, I need good hooks.
WHEN YOU GUYS WRITE WHAT IS YOUR STRUCTURE; DO YOU HAVE ONE SONGWRITER OR DO YOU WRITE AS A FULL BAND?
MATTY: Generally, Thomas writes the vocals and I create the music. The songs are then presented to the band and adjustments are made. Structurally, we stick to what will be easy enough for non-musicians to understand while not sacrificing musicality.
I READ THAT WHEN YOU WERE IN THE STUDIO FOR DESTROY SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL YOU FOUND OUT YOUR VOCALIST COULD WRITE ON THE SPOT. HOW DOES THAT HELP/ ENHANCE YOUR WRITING OR RECORDING DYNAMICS?
MATTY: Thats true, half of DESTROY SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL was written on the spot. DEVIANT, FALL INTO ME, RATED R, and FUTURE EX WIFE each were written and recorded in 48hrs or less. Thomas is a madman, I can throw songs at him and he'll be ready the next day.
THOMAS: Now that we've been a band for a few years and recorded multiple times, I think we understand each other a lot more now, and we have a better feel for how the creative process is going to flow. The spontaneous nature of songs on the DSB recording was actually a surprise for us at the time. Like, "wow, okay cool, we can write songs on the spot in this band". So, going forward, we know that when we go to the studio, new songs are going to happen.
The story behind "DEVIANT" was a pretty interesting one. Basically, we had this other song tracked. The music was done and I was about to do vocals on it but Matty and I weren't feeling it. So, I basically told him, if you want to replace it, you have till tomorrow to write it because we had a schedule we had to keep up with. So, he immediately grabbed his guitar and he wrote and recorded the music to DEVIANT that night. The next morning, he sends me over the song, and I got started with the lyrics. I remember texting him that afternoon, "If we're tracking vocals on this song tonight, we need to go to the liquor store before they close". So, we got a bottle of Jim Beam, and recorded vocals and mixed it that night till 6am. I still have that bottle signed and dated.
A QUOTE I READ ON YOUR FACEBOOK I WOULD LOVE YOU TO GO INTO MORE DEPTH WITH. IT WAS QUOTED AS “YOU ARE EXPLORING AREAS OF THE MIND THAT MIGHT MAKE THE NORMALS UNCOMFORTABLE? WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT?
THOMAS: Generally speaking, I think most people are uncomfortable with challenging themselves. I think the general population likes to stick with what's safe and comforting, keep themselves away from the darker aspects of life or things that are thought provoking.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT OFF OF DESTROY SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL?
THOMAS: Probably the fact that I survived it. But if I had to pick a song, probably RATED R. I really like the lyrics.
MATTY: Mine was definitely FUTURE EX WIFE, that was the only song that was recorded and left as is...no editing, no fixing...it was just perfect. It set the standard for everything we did after that.
ARE YOU GUYS WRITING NEW MATERIAL FOR ANOTHER ALBUM AND HOW HAS YOUR SOUND GROWN OR BEEN ENHANCED SINCE THE INITIAL WRITING FOR DSB?
MATTY: The second album is written and recorded. We are fine tuning it before its sent off to be mixed and mastered. It is a continuation of DSB except that we are spending a lot more time with overall production. We are expanding on the things people loved about DSB.
THOMAS: As much as I like DSB, this new record is a step forward for us in about every way imaginable. We were still finding ourselves and our identity with the DSB material. The new record is coming about after we've spent some years together, been through some adversity together, and learned from each other. I am excited to get this material out. I imagine the new record will have some material on it that will offend some people too. Good.
ONE SONG THAT I FELL IN LOVE WITH INSTANTLY WAS SOLEMNITY WHAT INSPIRED THAT SONG AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE FINISHED PRODUCT? AND HOW WELL DOES IT GO OVER LIVE?
MATTY: SOLEMNITY is actually a true story. I bartended for many years and one slow night a man came in. He started drinking straight up liquor, and he was hitting it heavy. When I asked him if he was alright, he said his wife was diagnosed with cancer a year ago and that she just died in his arms that morning. It broke my heart. He then started crying and asked why did this happen to them, and kept saying he wished it would take him instead. A lot of the lyrics are direct quotes from him.
ALMOST HUMAN IS ANOTHER EAR PLEASER WAS THAT A SONG THAT WAS EASY TO WRITE AND WHERE IN THE WRITING PROCESS WAS IT WRITTEN AND HOW DO YOU GUYS DEFINE THE OVERALL FEEL OF THAT TRACK?
THOMAS: ALMOST HUMAN was a very important song for this band. It was the song that prompted us to go record in Cleveland, as well as the song that taught us how we work best creatively. I remember hearing Matty writing the music one day, and I was immediately ready to write to it. As far as meaning goes, it's probably one of our most personal songs I've done with this band. It's about alcoholism and being consumed by addiction.
SPEAKING OF LIVE SHOWS, YOU GUYS TEND TO HAVE A FULL PRODUCTION FOR A KILLER LIVE SHOW HOW IMPORTANT TO YOUR BAND OR ANY BAND IS HAVING THAT VISUAL PIECE IN THIS DAY N AGE?
THOMAS: I've always been a fan of bands who put on a big show. The show becomes more of an experience and tends to stick in your mind that way I think. In many ways, a concert becomes sort of like a stage play. There's definitely going to be much more of that with this new record. I have lots of performance art in mind. I don't want you to just listen to these songs. I want them to punch you in the face.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE A TOGETHER IN EXILE FAN?
MATTY: TIE fans are called "DEVIANTS", they're usually sexually open minded, heavy drinking, music lovers. Something most people can relate to.
ANOTHER BIG ELEMENT YOU GUYS HAVE IS A HEFTY NUMBER OF VIDEOS FOR THIS PAST ALBUM. WHO SHOOTS YOUR VIDEOS AND LOOKING BACK ON ALL OF THEM WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TO SHOOT AND WHY?
THOMAS: I produce the music videos, but all the guys pitch into help with the production, because it's always a lot of work. I honestly don't really have a favorite so far. They were enjoyable to do, but I'm really focused on making the concepts for the next record.
MATTY: Mine was STARS DIE TONIGHT, we were just playing like we would live, it felt rawer.
WHAT I SAW ALSO IS YOU GUYS HAVE A VISUAL STAGE PERSONA WITH MASKS NOW BUT IN EARLY VIDEOS I DIDN’T SEE ANY OF THIS. WHEN DID THE MASK MAKE AN IMPACT INTO THE BAND AND WHAT DOES THAT SYMBOLIZE FOR THE BAND?
MATTY: The look has evolved when we stopped caring what people thought and ran with what we wanted to look like. I love wearing the mask, its challenging, and adds a mysterious dynamic to the stage show. More importantly, the mask distinguishes between myself and the persona, when the mask is on, I'm in work mode, I'm Matty Exile. Plus, I don't have to worry about making a weird face in pictures.
WHAT BANDS OR MUSICIANS DO YOU CALL OUT AS INFLUENCES AND WHAT MADE THEM BECOME YOUR INFLUENCES?
THOMAS: Scott Weiland, Marilyn Manson, Nirvana, Ghost, Nine Inch Nails, 80's pop music, Alfred Hitchcock
MATTY: Pantera and In Flames influence me heavily when writing.
WHERE DO YOU SEE TOGETHER IN EXILE IN 5 YEARS?
THOMAS: I'd like to see what we are capable of creating by that time. I feel like this next record is an important step for us creatively and I want to continue that with each album. We should be on album 4 or 5 by then.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOU GUYS? WHERE CAN THEY FIND YOUR MUSIC? Facebook: @togetherinexhileofficial Instagram: @togetherinexile website: www.togetherinexile.com
ANY TOUR PLANS IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
THOMAS: We are currently slated to be touring with Future of the Leaders of the World in October.
ANYTHING YOU WANT TO TELL FANS THAT THEY MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BAND OR YOU GUYS AS INDIVIDUALS?
THOMAS: Contrary to what Danny says about me in the Deviant video, I am getting much better about answering my phone.
MATTY: Everything we do is 100% real. It's not a front. We really are professional Deviants. Through and through. We drink heavy, we play hard, and we are open to almost anything.
GAME: THIS OR THAT CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER:
BATMAN OR SUPERMAN? Batman HARD LIQUOR OR BEER? Why not both? LIVE SHOW OR STUDIO WORK? Live show. SUNRISE OR SUNSETS? Sunsets. TACOS OR PIZZA? Pizza. BEYONCE OR RIHANNA? Rihanna.
Canadian band THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH took part in the Winter Jam Tour; a 46-city annual spectacular that was the 4th largest tour so far in 2017, playing in front of almost a half million fans. Their new live album UNTRAVELED ROADS was recorded during Winter Jam. Not overproduced, just a simple yet profound look into what a TFK live show sounds like. It's an Electrifying, energy driven and powerful set. This is the 2nd live CD this band has done - but I think this one showcases the real and prominent elements you will get out of the band.
As I made my way through this 12-track live disc I started realizing I truly enjoy this band. They make good, edgy music with great messages with ton of passion.
The raw, fist pumping stadium anthems are mostly singles from the band's last three albums. LIGHT UP THE SKY shows off the energy, with a hip-hop flair. PUSH was always a favorite of with mine hints of Linkin Park influences that intertwine with that TFK melody driven ambience. The dirty, gritty and edgier rock assault of LET THE SPARKS FLY makes your adrenaline rise halfway through the band's set. COURTESY CALL got the crowd going and shows the versatility of singer Trevor McNevan. Out of all the songs that are memorable on this disc; the thing that stood out for me was McNevan’s positive chat with the crowd at the end of this song. His message that our popular culture tells us that we should be a certain way - but that we don't have to buy into that… That God created us in his image and we are beautiful and wonderful, just as we are. That positive message really made me respect this band more and just shows that they are way more than Rockstars. Right after that chat with the crowd they move into the ballad of BE SOMEBODY, a song that has an amazing message and is beautiful in its own right. The modern rock twist of WAR OF CHANGE made the set list, along with the band’s first single and video for UNTRAVELED ROAD. A high adrenaline, powerful message and driving intensity that shows off the talent and musicianship of this 3-man band who are known as THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH. I can’t wait to hear new music from them soon.
Travel with TFK: Official website: https://thousandfootkrutch.com
Beautiful, Humble, Balanced and Intelligent....a perfect dream. SYMETRIA BY: JACKIE RYAN
ATTENTION ATTENTION!! We have here a band that holds nothing back and is releasing their debut self-titled album on September 29th. They had their first show November 18 at a Toys For Tots benefit and plan to do so again this year on the same date. Their debut album features songs that really mean something to them and talk about addiction, the 7 deadly sins, and taking action one what you want to do in life. The guys of SYMETRIA put a lot of time and thought into each song for their first album, check it out at the end of the month!
We had the opportunity to talk to Blair Smith - Drums and Kevin Cust – Guitar to see what they have to say about the album, who their biggest influences are, and where they think they will end up.
Facebook: @symetriaband Twitter: @symetriaband
WALK US THROUGH YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS OF YOUR SELF-TITLE ALBUM SYMETRIA.
Kevin - When we were doing covers in our band Clairvoyant, Vince and I had a vision for a band that would be relevant in today's music scene that would include influences from all past great bands but also to take those influences and apply it in a modern approach. The result: SYMETRIA!!!! We're sure glad that we found Blair, Fernando and James to join us on our journey.
Blair - We came together as a band and went into the studio with the purpose of making the best album we could at this point in time . An attempt was made to infuse an entire experience into the album and not just a bunch of songs, we really went into depth as far as the art, song order, and concept. We wanted to give everyone a complete package. The amazing part is as the name implies an album is a snapshot in time. If you were to see us live currently the songs have even progressed since the album was recorded .
SOME OF YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES ARE FUSED INTO YOUR MUSIC, HOW DO YOU THINK THEY TRANSLATED TO YOU TO MAKE MUSIC?
Kevin - Anytime you’re making music, your influences are going to come in somehow. The idea is that everybody pulls from their own influences to create something new and fresh. From the standpoint of writing for the guitars, the twin guitar attack was always something that I love when I listen to music. Harmonies just speak to my soul, so for me, they are very important to include when writing music. Our other guitarist James, has a similar interest in writing for the guitars as well, so that helps when we are creating new parts. We have received a lot of awesome feedback from people at our shows that love the twin axe attack, so as long as we love it, and the fans love it, we will continue to incorporate those influences all while putting our own spin on it.
Blair - Aristotle said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We are all coming with different feels and influences. We all did however make a conscious effort to make the best music we could. That being the first and foremost rule; all of the other influences just added flavor and beauty to what we set out to do. It gave it depth, it avoided the music sounding too much like one thing.
YOU HAVE YOUR 1ST LIVE SHOW ANNIVERSARY COMING UP IN NOVEMBER, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE PLAYING TOYS FOR TOTS AGAIN? WHY WAS THIS BENEFIT SHOW CHOSEN IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Kevin - Toys for Tots has a special place in or heart. I am a teacher in my day job and a baseball coach, so any time we can help the youth of our world it is a no brainer. Vince got us on this show and the purpose was twofold: to benefit the youth and to see how our sound would play out live. I guess you could say that we have done okay for ourselves since that show.
Blair - The show was chosen first off as just a good low stress opportunity to give our time to a great cause and take ourselves out and expose people to our music . One year later that is still the case, charity is good for the mind and soul, and simply playing to help make a difference in someone's life is such a privilege we are so happy to do it.
SYMETRIA JUST STARTED A FEW YEARS AGO, BUT YOU’RE UP AGAINST SOME BANDS THAT HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO PLAY WITH THEM, DO YOU EVER LEARN ANYTHING FROM THEM?
Kevin - We are very new to the music scene, but it's always best for us to remain teachable by all the bands that we play with and see what they're doing that may get a good reaction with the crowd and their fans. It's always fun to play with new bands and establish new relationships.
Blair - We have actually only been around for about a year as a band . Myself and Vince have been around the scene a while and have learned much .... but never too much to stop learning. It is an honor to play music with anyone and all musicians are part of the same brotherhood and share a common set of experiences, good and bad. Any musician should never be so arrogant as to think they can never learn anything by watching or asking.
WHEN AND WHERE YOU WHEN YOU HEARD YOUR FIRST METAL SONG, WHICH SONG TURNED YOU TO PLAY MUSIC?
Kevin - I always "heard" metal songs but it wasn't until I probably listened to Metallica that really turned me on to metal, particularly songs from their Black album. "Sad But True" was a song that really spoke to me when I was driving around with my younger brother, Mike. I was 20 years old and started playing guitar very late (19 years old). I remember driving in Flemington, NJ with him and "Sad But True" was on a mix cd that we had in the CD player. He was asking me how they make those sounds with the guitar. He was referring to the solos and harmonies in that song. They really spoke to me and really was a turning point in taking my new heavier, but melodic approach to my guitar playing.
Blair - I had received a bootleg copy of Metallica's No Life Till Leather demo and that made me go looking for that sound ... I don't know if there was really one song that made me want to play music. It has always been more of an expressive need, a way to create and make something on my own .
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH TIM MCMURTRIE AND ERIC RACHEL AT TRIPSQUAD RECORDS, WHAT WAS THE BEST AND WORST DAYS?
Kevin - There are no worst days when you are doing something you love. Working with Tim and Eric was an awesome experience. They knew that we knew what we wanted to sound like and let us carry out our vision. But, they also made recommendations to certain aspects to improve the overall quality of the music. They knew exactly where to do these adjustments and were very professional.
Blair - Eric has such an amazing ear , he has the ability to hear things that the normal human can't, the smallest detail can't escape his notice. He is free with his opinion and is easy, patient, and great to work with and most importantly he keeps a good sense of humor about him. His experience was more than welcomed and helped us a great deal .
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST COMMENTS FROM NEW FANS THAT YOU HAVE HEARD?
Kevin - Fans are loving the structure of our songs and appreciate how our live sound is in comparison to the album. Sometimes you have some tough time hearing songs in live settings, but people have said that we have a sound really close to our recordings in a live setting, and that is a great compliment.
Blair - That they like the music and they "get it. " The best part being the people telling us this are fans of all different genres which is the most important thing to us . We are bridging styles and tastes. There is something here for everyone.
GUITARIST EXTRAORDINAIRE MIKE KERR TALKS ABOUT THE MIKE KERR GROUP & MUSIC BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
MIKE KERR is an amazing guitar player from Massachusetts. I was introduced to him, from the band he created FIRSTBOURNE, after being at a festival that they played and hearing so many amazing and positive things about the band and his playing.
Along with his busy schedule, different bands he plays in; he has also done two solo records; THE FIRE and THE TRUTH OF A LION. Influenced by the rock of the 80’s this guy can modernize, technically assault and emotionally seduce you with the playing he does.
He has gathered fans around the world and have won awards for some of his songs he has written and played. So, with such a talent and gem in my own state I knew I had to get in touch and learn more about this artist.
He was able to answer some questions about his beginnings, the records he has released with the MIKE KERR GROUP and his array of blues, jazz and rock playing.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO PLAYING GUITAR AND AT WHAT AGE? I was inspired to play at first because my dad plays the acoustic guitar and then what made me really get into it was watching video clips from 80s Hits on MTV tapes my dad brought from The USA. I started learning around 9-10 the acoustic and electric 17.
WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED OUT WHO WAS YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE AND WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT THAT PERSON AS A MUISICIAN AND HOW HAS THAT PERSON MADE YOU THE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY? John Norum from Europe was My biggest influence from back then and he is still one of my biggest inspirations today. The thing that connects me to his playing the most is the ability to Create very melodic lines, phrase very well, great vintage Tone, great dynamic, great vibrato, great rhythms and he manages to add to all of that just the right amount of shred to it.
YOUR FOM BRAZIL BUT LIVING IN MASSACHUSETTS WHAT MADE YOU COME TO THE STATES AND HAVE YOU BEEN BACK HOME TO PLAY FOR FRIENDS OR FANS OVER THERE? I came to USA to live with my dad in 2001 with a dream to study music, I was 17. I worked hard at a trash company called Bizzaro to buy my first Guitar, a Blue Jackson guitar and start making my dream reality. I normally go to Brazil 2 or 3 times per year, I made several TV appearances along with my sister; singer Kezia Kerr. I also do guitars workshops at music stores and schools down there.
TELL US OTHER THEN MUSIC AND SONG WRITING WHAT ELSE MAKES UP THE PERSON WHO IS MIKE KERR? The music is a giant part of my life, it is really who I am. I love spending time with my wife, playing with the dog, watching horror movies, working out. I'm also the owner of a cleaning company and a landscape company in Martha's Vineyard so I spend a ton of my time managing those companies.
IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE YOUR MINDSET WRITING THE FIRST CD YOU EVER RELEASED THE FIRE IN 2012 AND DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE GOAL YOU SET FOR THAT ALBUM YOU REACHED? On THE FIRE I just wanted to get an album out there. I worked with one of my guitar mentors on this album. He is a fantastic guitarist and he produced the album, his name is Jota Vox. I'm proud of this album. It was my first and there some good Ideas on it. Of course, I'm not happy about my leads on it since I feel like I've mature so much in so many ways in comparison. Anyways, it's a good album, mixing and mastering aren't that great but again it's a good album. My least favorite in comparison to THE TRUTH OF THE LION and my favorite work of course FirstBourne- Riot.
IN 2015 YOU RELEASED A NEW DISC CALLED THE TRUTH OF A LION WHAT KIND OF GROWTH OR CHANGES DID YOU MAKE ON THIS DISC SINCE YOUR FIRST CD? On THE TRUTH OF THE LION I feel like I finally mature on many departments, I feel like the Tone is a lot more to my liking, phrasing, vibrato, dynamics gotten alto better. Rhythms are tight, and this was the First time I had the pleasure to work with the fantastic Adrienne Cowan.
WHO IS SHE, HOW DID YOU MEET AND HOW DID THE WRITING PROCESS GO WITH THE BOTH OF YOU TO COME UP WITH A COMPLETE SONG? Adrienne Cowan, I met her at a show that my band and hers (Seven Spires) shared the stage at Sammys Patio in Revere. She is the definition of Professionalism, everything with her happens so natural that I don't think we plan too much, there is no strategies, we just do it.
COMPARING THE TWO CDS NOW; WHERE DO YOU FEEL THE REAL YOU AS PLAYER REALLY SHINES? THE TRUTH OF THE LION for sure but I'm sure my next one will be better the both, that's the point, right? We need to keep making progress, keep polishing.
WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU IN WRITING A SONG IS IT THE EMOTION OR THE TECHINICAL COMMAND? AND CAN YOU WRITE A SONG WITH ONE AND WITHOUT THE OTHER? Emotion comes first however it is the best thing to combine both.
ANY WORK ON A 3RD SOLO RECORD AND IF SO CAN YOU GIVE US A LITTLE HINT ON NEW DIRECTIONS YOU WANT TO FOCUS IN ON FOR THESE NEW SONGS?
I don't want to talk about it too much yet but I have been talking to a fantastic musician about doing an instrumental album a little different then what is out there, stay tuned.
DO YOU FEEL WINNING AN AWARD FOR YOUR WORK ON THE 2ND DISC TRUTH OF A LION WAS A MAJOR HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER OR IS SOMETHING MORE BENEFICIAL STAND OUT?
That was one of the best moments of my career and my life. When we got up on that big stage to get the trophy it was me, Adrienne and Ven. With a song that we worked with Jim Oliveira. We were not the MKG! We were FirstBourne, we just didn't know it yet. That was the push we needed to create the band FirstBourne.
I READ YOU ALSO EXPERIMENT WITH SOME JAZZ AND BLUES MUSIC, DO YOU HAVE OTHER BANDS YOU PLAY WITH OR DO YOU DO STUDIO WORK FOR BANDS LIKE THAT? I took some jazz lessons & blues lessons. I also work with other bands other than MKG; which is, \ FirstBourne, Moneyshot (80s set list) Mercybeat, (Blues/rock) Red Neck Yacht Club (county) and the Boogies (Disco). I think it is very important for all of us guitar players to be able to play a good blues solo.
WHEN YOUR PLAYING JAZZ OR BLUES MUSIC IS IT EASIER OR HARDIER FOR YOU TO PERFORM AND WRITE VS. THE ROCK AND HARDER STUFF YOU PLAY?
I'm not really a jazz player. The little bit I studied was for a better understanding of harmony so I don't really write jazz music. In terms of blues; it’s always better to work on improvisations. So, the only type of music that I write is Rock and Metal.
ANY LAST COMMENTS? I want to thank you very much for the interview, it was a pleasure to share a little bit of my life and thoughts with you.
SILVERTOMB TYPE O NEGATIVE, AGNOSTIC FRONT FORMER MEMBERS UNITE!
A CHAT WITH JOHNNY KELLY BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
Former TYPE O NEGATIVE, AGNOSTIC FRONT Members Join Forces In SILVERTOMB. The guys Kenny Hickey (TYPE O NEGATIVE, SEVENTH VOID) - Lead Vocals, Guitar, Johnny Kelly (TYPE O NEGATIVE, DANZIG, SEVENTH VOID)- Drums, Joseph James (AGNOSTIC FRONT) – Guitar, Hank Hell (SEVENTH VOID) – Bass and Aaron Joos (EMPYREON) - Keyboards, Guitar just recently made their debut live show appearances at the Ride For Dime benefit which is the world-renowned charity event series created by late PANTERA guitarist Dimebag" Darrell Abbott's closest family and friends to keep his legacy alive.
The band is working on new music with hopes of a 2018 release. I had a chance to catch up with Johnny Kelly to ask him about the band and the progression from Seventh Void, how Dimebag influenced him, how it is working with Kenny Hickey again and how he has processed the death of Peter Steele.
.IS SILVERTOMB GOING TO BE A FULL FLEDGE MAIN BAND FOR YOU NOW? Kenny and I will always be attached to each other. We’ve been friends playing in bands together since we were teenagers. SILVERTOMB is an extension of that. We’ll have to see what the future brings for the band. I’m very proud of the music that we made. Each song takes an emotional part out of me and I would love for people to get off on it the way I do.
WHEN WILL WE SEE A RECORD OUT WITH YOU GUYS AND ANY HINTS OF SONGS OR ALBUM NAMES YOU CAN LET US IN ON? We’re looking for the right home for the band. Right now, that’s the priority. It’s already September. I don’t see anything being released this year. I would like to see a release before the summer of next year. We’ve posted some snippets on our social media pages for people check out and see what we’ve been up to for now.
WILL YOU BE DOING A FULL FLEDGE TOUR TO GET THE BAND OUT THERE IN THE PUBLIC EYE? I would love to get the band on the road. In this day and age, doing that is a lot harder than it used to be. It’s not as simple as putting everything in a van and wandering the country aimlessly. The touring aspect is an important part of which label we work with.
THE BAND LOOKS LIKE AN EXTENSION OF SEVENTH VOID SINCE YOU HAVE MAINLY THE SAME BAND MEMBERS SO WHY THE NAME CHANGE? We now have 2 new guys in the band. With Aaron and Joe added to the mix, the music has changed a bit. So why not start fresh?
WITH KEYBOARDS ADDED TO THE MIX IS THIS BRINGING YOU BACK TO THE TYPE O NEGATIVE DAYS WITH A MODERN TWIST? AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE AARON JOSS FOR THE JOB? When we started Seventh Void, the goal was to do something different than what we were doing in Type O Negative. Type O has been inactive for a long time now and there are elements of that music that I miss. So, some of that has made its way into SILVERTOMB’s music.
WORKING WITH KENNY AGAIN HOW IS IT AND HOW HAVE BOTH OF YOU GROWN AND DEVELOPED THROUGH THE YEARS AFTER TYPE O? WHAT DOES HE BRING INTO THE BAND THAT HAS MADE YOU GUYS GROW AS MUSICIANS? Kenny and I practically learned how to play music together. We learned a lot of rights and wrongs along the way. I think we’ve come to terms with who we are as players and try to focus on our strong points while trying to improve on the weaknesses. At the end of the day though, we just want to make music that we think is cool and can be proud of.
YOU ALSO HAVE IN THE BAND THE LEGEND OF JOSEPH JAMES HOW IS IT WORKING WITH HIM AND WHAT INFLUENCE DOES HE BRING INTO THE AND ON A PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LEVEL FOR YOU GUYS? Joe is great. He’s a great guitar player and his work ethic is tops. I think his chops brought a new level of excitement to what’s been going on.
YOU PLAYED THE RIDE FOR DIME BENEFIT WHICH YOU DEBUTED THE BAND; HOW WAS THE NIGHT AND HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR SET WENT? The show went well. The band seemed to be received well. It was nice to finally get the first show out of the way. I’ve participated in a couple of Dime events throughout the years.
WHAT DID DIME MEAN TO YOU IN A PERSONAL LEVEL AND AS A MAJOR INFLUENCE IN THE MUSIC COMMUNITY? Touring with Pantera was an experience that I always cherish. Dime was such a larger than life person. He always went out of his way to make you feel special. He didn’t have to do that. It was just his nature. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that we were the best of friends. But we were friends for years and Dime made you feel like you were the best of friends. Because I knew him, his personality, to me, had a bigger impression that his guitar playing. But then I would watch him perform or listen to their records and get reminded very quickly at how much of an amazing guitar player he really was. I believe that he was one of Rock & Roll’s greatest guitarists.
WORKING WITH BANDS LIKE DANZIG AND OTHERS THROUGH THE YEARS HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR DRUMMING AS PROGRESSED AND DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT THROWING IN THE TOWEL ANYTIME THROUGH THE YEARS AFTER TYPE O NEGATIVE ENDED? I thought about throwing in the towel all the time in Type O as well as now! I never expected to be doing this for as long as I have. But I’ve always enjoyed playing with other people doing different things. I think I’m always learning something from the different situations playing with different people.
I HEARD YOU MOVED TO TEXAS HOW HAS THAT CHANGED BEEN FOR YOU LEAVING THE CITY LIFE OF NY AND HAS IT INSPIRED CREATIVITY INTO YOUR MUSIC SINCE YOU MOVED? I recently moved to Frisco, TX. I am still getting settled in. I have spent quite a bit of time away from home since I moved there. I’m not sure how me living there is going to affect my music. I know that it means I’ll be spending more time in airports. All the bands that I work with are in different states!
LASTLY, I WAS A HUGE TYPE O NEGATIVE FAN I THINK I MADE IT TO ALL YOUR MASSACHUSETTS AND RHODE ISLAND SHOWS AND TALKED TO YOU ALL PREVIOUSLY IN YEARS BACK. THE PASSING OF PETER WAS SAD AND SHOCKING TO ME. I MISS HIM DEARLY. IT’S BEEN YEARS NOW BUT DO YOU MISS HIM AND HOW HAVE YOU POWERED THROUGH LOSING HIM AS A FRIEND AND A BAND MATE? Of course, I still miss Peter. I miss him as a friend and as a bandmate. Life is very different for me now that he isn’t here. Even though it’s been years since he passed away, I find myself still telling stories about him all the time. So, in a way, he’s still very much alive.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LOVE TO SHARE WITH YOUR FANS THAT YOU HAVEN’T SHARED BEFORE? Hard to say… I’ve told a million stories in my time… Thanks for the support.
36 Crazyfists---Lanterns Spinefarm Records Release: 29 September 2017 By: Stephanie Stevens
We all have that one band that you latch onto that really speaks to you every time a song comes on. When I was hit with the 2002 debut album BITTERNESS THE STAR from the Alaskan band 36 CRAZYFISTS; I remember I was in my car and was in awe of what I heard coming out of my speakers. I got to know these musicians through having endless interviews with them and seeing them live any and all chances I got when they came to town. I grew with the band I have seen them change members, go through struggles, change labels and keep making music that is not only heavy, aggressive, powerful and meaningful but keeps evolving and giving fans a place to call home inside each and every track.
It’s been 23 years and singer Brock Lindow, guitarist Steve Holt, Bassist Mick Whitney and drummer Kyle Baltus are on the verge of releasing the bands 7th studio album LANTERNS.
The success for this band has come in small waves but from the bands last album TIME & TRAUMA; where the band finally had a career high on music charts; the media and music fans are finally waking up to realize this band has something very special as musicians and artists. LANTERNS has incorporated the sound of the old….fiery, intense, energy driven but experimenting with the simpler, more eloquent sounds; with Lindow showing off more vocal capabilities; from the harsh and intense screams to the melody driving singing voice. He has been showing off little by little a more fragile sounding vocal to him but on this record, I feel like his heart n soul really bleeds on tracks like WHERE REVENEGE ENDS and DARK CORNERS. Attributing to the soul you feel in his vocals he is also bringing light into the lyrical content where depression and anxiety is a very relative and serious issue in the world these days. SEA AND SMOKE melody driven vocals intertwined with the hard driving soundscape; it brings you on a journey of passion and struggle but with a positive reassurance. BETTER TO BURN is high energy, its driven, it’s the signature of what 36 CRAZYFISTS does best. The chorus is on point where the fans will be singing along for their lives. It’s got a great groove, the raspy and edgy vocals but punches you with that powerful high energy. WARS TO WALK AWAY FROM heavy, melodic, with a sexy messy attitude. This song stuck out pretty prominent when going through each track on the disc. SLEEPSICK is just gnarly, its heavy as fuck, digs into your soul, darker uglier and strong. Probably my favorite song on the disc by far. The one thing I love about this band is the way they can kick your ass in the verses and just let your heartbeat settle in the choruses with a catchy yet still grueling sound. BANDAGE OF PROMISE makes you adore the voice of Lindow like no tomorrow. He’s got that grasp and uniqueness that just makes the song shine. BELOW THE GRAVES fast, penetrating, groove oriented and soulful. OLD GOLD another one that blends the hard n soft and really shows off the talent and musicianship and brotherhood these guys have in the writing process. DEATHEATER starts the album off and will end my review. This song some of you already got a glimpse into but I have to say if there is one song that really platforms the album LANTERNS it’s this one shows the classic sound of the band and modern twists. Kills you with heavy and high energy attitude these guys bring on record and to every live show. The signature sound of Lindow is there wrapped with the aggressive; very solid track.
36 CRAZYFISTS has really evolved, grown and keeps bringing freshness to their sound after all these years. You all might not be into the music but you have to hand it to these boys that they are one of the few that can still progress with the times. To the fans like me who adore these guys (anytime I speak about this band I always say they are my heart n soul; I mean it) you will not be disappointed in LANTERNS. If you loved TIME & TRAUMA this one is going to blow the doors off; A must in your collection.
LEUKORRHEA--EVOLUTION THROUGH RAPE SEVARED RECORDS
Coming from a small town on Cape Cod, the boys of LEUKORRHEA have something to say and it isn't what most people would think of when thinking of Cape Cod. They are a five-piece death metal band that uses their voice to say some really touchy subjects. Once you get past the intense vocals of DAN PEVIDE. They have some strong drumming, that has kick drums that stand out in GOD OF SIN. At first you don't really see them anything different from other death metal band, but their use of instruments has them as a contender to watch out for. If you want to know exactly what PEVIDE is saying check out their songs on bandcamp, you have the option to see the lyrics.
I was given the opportunity to drop them a few questions and Michael Mcpherson (drummer) filled us in.
FIRST OFF, WHERE DOES YOUR INSPIRATION COME FROM? Just in everyday life, horror movies, news
YOU HAVE SOME VERY INTERESTING SONG TITLES AND AFTER LISTENING TO THE SONGS, SOME REALLY INTENSE LYRICS. WHERE THEY BASED OFF OF EXPERIENCES OR JUST TRYING TO GET THOUGHTS INTO PAPER? My singer if a pretty interesting person with an insane and fucked imagination.
YOU HAVE MORE KICKDRUMS THAT STAND OUT IN YOUR SONGS, WHY CHOOSE TO GO THIS WAY RATHER THAN STICK TO MORE ELECTRIFYING GUITARS? It's the driving force of our music we like the louder kick drum sound.
HOW DID YOU GUYS FORM BACK IN 2000, WHERE HAS BEEN THE BEST PLACE YOU HAVE PRACTICED TOGETHER? I ran into Nate “our original singer" who said he was thinking about wanting to do vocals in a band and at that time the band I was in broke up so we hooked up and got Adam "original guitar player " and wrote the first three songs that out on our original demo.
TELL US HOW EACH OF YOU STARTED PLAYING MUSIC? Well I started playing drums when I was 4; a family member was a fusion drummer and one day he handed me his sticks showed me your basic four four rock beats; and I could do it. Was all downhill from there.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO SEE LEUKORRHEA BE AT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS? We are working on our 4th album now so I would like to see us going on tour to support it.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO LET YOUR FANS KNOW ABOUT YOUR MUSIC? We just want to say thank you for the years of support it's been almost 20 years and we couldn't do without you all.
MEADE AVE ON THE VERGE OF RELEASING STITCHING THE TORN BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
Forming in the land of Sin City (Vegas) the band MEADE AVE now call the East Coast home and have reassembled their brotherhood with a solid lineup, a new sound surrounded within a hard rock mentality. The band shared stages with some great acts like Hed PE, American Headcharge, Powerman 5000, Tantric, Otep. Won an award for #1 unsigned band in the world Sunset Island music chart and will have a lot more to add to this once we head into 2018. They are finishing up the bands next album STITCHING THE TORN which is the follow up to FROM THE ASHES. They have honed the hard rock and metal sound much better with the help of new vocalist George “Ghole” Rodenas due to his more gritty, raspy and aggressive vocal pattern. Lyrically they tangle you up with stories of struggle but with hopes of reaching goals and empowering yourself; as you can see in the first single and video for TAKING BACK TOMORROW. I was new to the band so I was eager to get them some questions to learn about these cats; and also let you guys know of MEADE AVE so when they hit the road you try to find a city near you to check out the hard rock they are supplying in a live appearance. For now learn about the bands influences, how member changes affect bands, and where they see themselves in 5 years.
YOU GUYS STARTED OUT AS A BAND FROM THE VEGAS AREA BUT HAVE MOVED TO THE EAST COAST. WHY THE CHANGE AND HOW DID THAT CHANGE YOUR CREATIVE OUTLOOK WHEN MAKING MUSIC? Aaron and Matthew are originally from western PA. Their father had a stroke and was better suited at home where their mom and dad owned a house. Being in the country has far fewer distractions to allow us to be more in tune with our music. Vegas can be terribly distracting.
DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE GAINED MORE OPPORTUNITIES BEING ON THE EAST COAST? AND IF SO GIVE US A EXAMPLE? Yes. We had a strong footprint on the west coast but we wanted to broaden our horizons. We wanted to be a true national band.
WHO IS THE CURRENT LINE UP AND HOW LONG HAVE EACH OF YOU BEEN PLAYING YOUR INSTRUMENTS? Aaron Paoletta. Drums 28 years. Matthew Paoletta. Bass 6 years George Joseph Rodenas. Vocals since mid 90s Greg Scopinich. Guitar 12 years
WHEN YOU HAVE ANY CHANGE IN BAND MEMBERS YOUR SOUND MIGHT CHANGE A BIT ESPECIALLY WITH A SINGER HOW WAS THE TRANSACTION FROM ONE TO THE OTHER AND HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE GROWN WITH YOUR CURRENT SINGER? Changing a band member is always nerve racking. Having to learn a new person’s style is frustrating. But sometimes the change can be pleasant. In this case, our new singer brought a different style and range that sent the songs for the new album (STITCHING THE TORN) to a more professional level that was needed.
YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH SOME BAND CHANGES THROUGH THE YEARS BUT ALWAYS KEPT THE BAND NAME. WHAT DOES THIS NAME MEAN TO YOU GUYS AND HOW IS IT CONNECTED TO THE MUSIC YOU MAKE? The band name originates from a dingy street in Las Vegas. This street was where Aaron operated his recording studio from. It was also the birth place of the band. There was no better name for the band than to name it after the street in which it was founded.
YOUR DRUMMER STARTED OUT AS A STUDIO GUY IN VEGAS DOES HE DO ALL YOU PRODUCTION FOR THE STUDIO AND DOES HE EVER HAVE THE WANT TO START SOMETHING LIKE THIS AGAIN? Yes, with the exception of the mixing of our new album STITCHING THE TORN. The mixing is currently being done by Kendall Stephens of Red Audio works in Oklahoma. As far as starting another studio, yes. I love to work with musicians. Starting a new band, NO. MEADE AVE FOREVER.
YOU ARE ON THE VERGE OF RELEASING A BRAND-NEW ALBUM ENTITLED STITCHING THE TORN MUSICIALLY HOW HAS YOUR MUSIC GROWN AND LYRICALLY WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION? The music grows by us maturing as musicians. Lyrically, we get our inspiration by living it. We write concept albums. We write about what we live. Hoping our struggles and gains can help or inspire others
WHAT BANDS COULD YOU SAY INFLUNENCES THE SOUND OF MEADE AVE? Metallica. Ac/dc. Pantera. Iron Maiden. Judas Priest. Disturbed. Hate breed. Sworn Enemy. Def leppard. Skillet. Black Sabbath.
TAKING BACK TOMORROW VIDEO LOOKS LIKE THE SONG COULD HAVE MANY BACK STORIES TO IT. FOR YOU WHAT DOES THE SONG MEAN TO YOU GUYS AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE FINAL PRODUCT OF THE VIDEO? The song is about a person’s undying struggle to reach their goals. Never giving up. Always moving forward. Never surrender. We were happy with the final product. We felt it conveyed the message.
WHAT IS THE GOAL FOR THE BAND IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS? Tour, tour, tour. 2 more albums. Play the super bowl.
ARE YOU GUYS STILL A TOURING BAND AND WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST AREAS OF A TOURING BAND? Yes, we are a touring band. We love to be on the road. Performing for our fans but there are struggles and sacrifices that people don’t see. Missed holidays, time away from our loved ones. But the show must go on.
HOW CAN THE MUSIC WORLD KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOU GUYS AND ANYTHING YOU WANT TO LET THE WORLD KNOW ABOUT THE BAND THAT WE DIDN’T COVER ON?
MOTOGRATER-DESOLATION EMP Label Group BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
For some of you living under a rock MOTOGRATER started out with Ivan Moody and the debut self-titled album was released back in 2003 with the hit SUFFOCATE and DOWN.
This new release DESOLATION is the band’s first full-length album since the 2003 Elektra/No Name self-titled release. Now fronting the band is James Anthony Legion (Deadform/The Breathing Process). With the bands hiatus and some front man changes they are finally a secured and powerful line up with Legion leading and the rest of the band - Matthew "Nuke" Nunes – Guitar, Jesse Stamper – Guitar, Mylon Guy – Bass, Noah "Shark" Robertson – Drums, Dustin "Skunk" Anderson – Motograter, Joey Vice - Smurs/Samples/Vocals giving him the dark metal/rock backdrop he needs for the even mixture of gritty and clean vocals.
DESOLATION is a record that bleeds the blood sweat and tears of the band. Fans who have stuck by them will be appeased by the record. The MOTOGRATER sound is still there; dark, heavy, melodic and the sound uniqueness filters through from start to finish.
PARASITE the band’s first single starts off the disc with this deliverance of heavy drums, dark tones and that aggressive and melodic tones of vocals. This platform single really shows the new era of what MOTOGRATER Is bringing to the stage and your ears. The band’s second single DORIAN is climbing the charts and the new video has been getting rave reviews. The song has more of a rock n roll attitude but with dark moments. One track I was a huge fan of was BLEEDING THROUGH, which shows off more of a singing quality and just a simple melody driven track - but yet has a “big sounding” display of dark rock. DAGGERS has a synthesized more electronic vibe to it wrapped into the melodic and moody side of the bands persona. PORTRAIT OF DECAY lashes you with a heaviness; I really love the intertwinement of Legion’s brutality and melodic tones in his voice and on this track, it stood out a little more aggressively and it makes the song pop. RISE (THERE WILL BE BLOOD) assaults you with heavy while SHADOWS ends the disc on a pretty and dark melody driven ballad tone.
MOTOGRATER put their heart n soul into this new album and it shows throughout each song. That signature sound is there as we all grew to love, but they really displayed growth n depth in their writing.
Mascot Label Group / Mascot Records By: Stephanie Stevens
SHAMAN’S HARVEST the rock band from Missouri has outdone themselves yet again with the newest collection of songs on the album RED HANDS BLACK DEEDS. The album is soulful, funky and has mid-western rock n roll appeal through and through. This album brings more of a darker, grittier and layered sound then the last album but most importantly shows the growth and depth the guys have supplied since the last writing session. THE COME UP is an upbeat, melody driven and addicting sense of rock. OFF THE TRACKS gives you that country, classic rock vibe with a deliverance of hearty vocal abilities. BLOOD TROPHIES is one of my favorites; sexy groove, clean and soulful vocals; powerful and moving dark attributes. SO LONG brings classic rock with a hefty amount of gritty groove and soulful ambience intertwined with raspy vocals. TUSK AND BONE is probably my favorite heart driven vocals and lyrics. The ballad of all ballads just simple and clean and just so delightfully pretty the guys should really be proud of this track. SCAVENGERS is yet another song that took a hold of my soul. The playfulness of the vocal patterns and the sense of darkness from the simple display of guitar is just phenomenal. SHAMAN’S HARVEST is a band that doesn’t need any sparkle or glam to them they have the pure talent to strip it down and play as if they have nothing to prove to anyone. That is what makes each new record just a pleasure and asset to have in your music collection by this band because they are bringing the real wholesome rock n roll back to the frontline.
Connect with the band:
REVIEW ORIGINALLY POSTED ON http://metalgodstv.com/shamans-harvest-album-review-red-hands-black-deeds/
NOXII ARENA STEPPING UP THE RHODE ISLAND METAL SCENE BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
In the last few months I have seen some great talent coming out of Rhode Island and now NOXII ARENA can be added to that list. They are going to take the metal scene by the balls and make a damn mess out of them with the bands self-titled debut 7 song EP. What I love about the disc is that they are bringing the metal attitude by consolidating so many subgenres of metal like; death core to metal core to make the record appealing to so many music fans. The intricate technicalities will make the well-practiced musician realize these guys can play some good metal to the layman music fan who can appreciate but still get into the styling they play.
For me the disc had a lot of favorites but I would have to say the ZIARI had that in your face aggressiveness but layered with some groove. COMMON GROUND a little filler instrumental was a pleaser a little airy and more subdued, pretty in a dark way and a good way to give your ears a little breather. INCEPTING TERROR was a darker and intriguing track; a lot of hills and valleys and change ups. BRED FORANNIHILATION is a brutal introduction to the band, gritty and in your face vocals, music that is penetrating, intricate and powerful. QUEEN CITY INN is speedy and aggressive with a lot of solid guitar work.
NOXII ARENA lays out the metal in this self-debut disc and is going to be entertaining to see in a live presence. I had a chance to find out a little more about this Rhode Island 5 piece, when I recently chatted with the band.
FIRST THE BAND NAME WHO CAME UP WITH IT AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN? When guitarists Mikey Ferrara, Jared Souza, and drummer Jon Camelo started the band in 2011 it was a while before we came up with a definite name. One night hanging out we started looking up different historical topics to find something suitable for a metal band. Mikey came across the word "Noxii" which in roman times was defined by a prisoner sentenced to death in the colosseum. So essentially these criminals would be thrown into an arena and killed for the entertainment of all the viewers. One of many examples would be throwing a Noxii into the arena blindfolded and naked to square off against a lion. We decided this is almost as metal as it gets and decided calling the band NOXII ARENA not only had a nice ring to it but also directly translates to an arena where criminals are ripped apart for viewing pleasure. If that wasn't metal enough we wouldn't know what to name this band.
BEING A BAND THAT WAS A THREE PIECE AND NOW A FULL 5-PIECE BAND HOW HAS YOUR MUSIC CHANGED OR EVOLVED SINCE YOU FOUNDED THE BAND IN 2011? When the band started it was just the three-piece instrumental, not because the three original guys planned for that but we're just impatient waiting for the right guys and wanted to showcase what we had at the time. Over some time, Matt Perrault, an old buddy of the guys, expressed his interest in playing bass for us and added a whole new layer to the band. He didn't just strum similar notes to the guitars, he wrote elaborate parts that complimented every song perfectly. After a few years with a couple of vocalist joining and falling out after a while we came across Andrew who had heard of us and was dying to join a new project. After his first tryout, we decided he had the perfect dry sounding tones we were looking for in a vocalist and it has been the five of us ever since.
YOU GUYS JUST RELEASED A LYRIC VIDEO FOR BRED FOR ANNIHILATION WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS SONG TO BE THE PLATFORM FOR THE UP N COMING ALBUM AND WHAT IS THE SONG ABOUT? We chose BRED FOR ANNIHILATION because it is one of our heavier songs and we felt that our audience would really enjoy this one. The song sort of coincides with the concept of zombies and the idea of your close/loved ones transforming into something lethargic or mindless. Vocalist Andrew Shea was inspired in writing the lyrics by some of his favorite zombie films like Evil Dead and Night of the Living Dead.
WHEN DID THE ALBUM COMING OUT AND HOW DO YOU FEEL THIS ALBUM IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER LOCAL BANDS IN THE RHODE ISLAND AREAS SOUND? The album came out 9/1/17 and is available on ITunes, Spotify, YouTube and more. Our sound in general is a little different from local bands in the Rhode Island scene we feel. We try to bring elements from each members’ different influences. You can hear it in the album how every song is different from the next but each track still remains true to our sound. We've always strived for two things in our sound, keeping it original while also keeping it heavy and fun.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE PICK UP THE DISC? Our disc can be ordered online through our big cartel page or picked up from our merch table at our shows.
WHAT INFLUENCES HAVE MADE NOXII ARENA THE BAND IT IS TODAY? This band grew up a lot while the New England metal scene was prevalent so we always listened to bands like Unearth, Killswitch Engage, The Acacia Strain and a bunch more. There are tons of bands between the 5 of us but along with those Whitechapel, August Burns Red, Veil of Maya and bands similar to those have had a big part in our influence.
IF YOU COULD WRITE WITH ONE OF THOSE BANDS THAT YOU STATED ABOVE WHICH BAND WOULD YOU WRITE WITH AND WHAT ONE QUESTION WOULD YOU ASK THEM ABOUT SONGWRITING? I guess this question could be different depending on which member you directed the question to but I'd say we could all agree that writing a song with Veil of Maya could be most enjoyable. We love the tight, technical and heavy side of songs and breakdowns so I think being able to pick their brains about stuff like that would be beneficial and fun for us.
WHAT IS THE EASIEST AND HARDEST PART IN WRITING A METAL SONG IN THIS DAY OF AGE?
That's a good question because sometimes a whole song can come super easy to all of us. Other times we can just give up for a night of writing when we realize we've spent 2 hours on one small part of a potential song. It's easy to know when you have something good in the works. Everybody in the band can feel it and we get all giddy like a bunch of schoolgirls. What's hard is keeping it fresh. A lot of parts we could sit down and spit out might sound cool and might actually be really cool when we first hear them but to make sure it's something people haven't necessarily heard a hundred times can jam us up.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR LYRICAL CONTENT VARIES FROM SONG TO SONG AND WHERE DOES THE INFLUENCE OF LYRICS COME FROM?
Almost every song on the album had been written long before our vocalist Andrew joined the group. Unfortunately for him we had named most of the songs just by using names from past inside jokes/story's and just naming the tracks with a name we felt fit the vibe of the music. With all that in place Andrew had the challenge of writing every lyric based a little bit on the existing title and a lot on how he thought the songs felt. Andrew always tried to write his words with a sense that he can take the listener through a story from start to finish and nailed every one if you ask the rest of the group.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FANS OR MUSIC FANS IN GENERAL TO WALK AWAY FROM AFTER HEARING YOUR MUSIC? We want them to hear something they haven't heard in while realizing that we are a versatile group with our sound and of course we want them to feel the energy and vibe we aim for in each track.
HOW DO YOU VIEW THE METAL SCENE AS A WHOLE THROUGHOUT THE STATES THESE DAYS? We feel although the metal scene is growing in a weird sense that these days it can be a little disconnected. If bands spent a little more time helping each other out instead of creating sort of a "metal competition" the scene would be even better off.
ARE YOU GUYS PARTNERING UP WITH A RECORD LABEL? AND WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR WHEN IT COMES TO THAT? We haven't partnered with a label just yet; however, we are still in the market for one. Any label that appreciates our sound and wants to help us in the growth of this band is the type of label we want to sign with.
ANY SHOWS IN THE UP N COMING MONTHS? PLUS, ONE NATIONAL BAND YOU WOULD LOVE TO OPEN FOR IF YOU COULD? Of course, now that the album is complete we hope to tour and play with bigger and bigger bands as we have. We're beyond excited to play alongside Whitechapel, Carnifex, Rings of Saturn and more on Nov. 19 at Fete Music Lounge in Rhode Island. It's hard to name a band we'd love to open for because we've been blessed to play with a handful of huge names already including Unearth, Suffocation, Soulfly, and more. We've yet to play with a number of bands though so playing with August Burns Red just to list one of hundreds would mean a lot to all of us.
DO YOU FEEL A LIVE SHOW IS AS IMPORTANT AS WRITING A GOOD SONG? Absolutely If your live performance isn't outstanding and drawing the audience’s attention than you might as well be playing to no one. We pride ourselves especially in sounding as tight if not tighter than the album at every show.
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE TRYING TO PURSUE THEIR DREAMS BE IT IN MUSIC OR OTHER ENDEAVERS? We would tell them never to give up and to keep pushing. Making it as a musician or a band isn't easy and it takes the right group of people to make it happen. You will experience a lot of bumps along the way. The key is to keep pushing and don't be afraid to argue or debate. Being is a band is like having 4 different girlfriends so compromise is key. You want everybody in the band to be content and pleased with how everything is working and if not, interest and drive can start to fade.
PLAY A GAME THIS OR THAT.
Metallica or Megadeth? Most of us would say Metallica
Pepsi or coke? Coke,Coke,Pepsi sucks, and Coke
Football or baseball? Football, only a few guys in the band are big sports guys but football first
Small venue or big festival? More ears, more energy, the better I'd say. Gotta be a festival
Ufc or wwe? Probably UFC now but if we were all 12 and it was still WWF then no contest
Blondes or brunettes? Blonettes. Idk pretty ladies in general are good with us
Tacos or pizza? A lot of long practice nights have ended with both, but right before I answered with pizza I realized that I can't count how many times this band has gone to Taco Bell
LARISSA VIENNA AND THE STRANGE CHATS ABOUT THE BAND'S NEW RELEASE NEPTUNE VII BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
A girl starts her dreaming of being a performer and musician with one look at Shirley Temple. Not the typical influence you would think of when it comes to the rock music world but the petite little LARISSA VIENNA is not your typical artist. Starting her career as a solo artist back in 2008 writing and producing her own music in the Denver music scene, her creativeness was in full swing. Slowly but surely, she added and found band mates to make THE STRANGE; a family and a group of artists that are creative, experimental and talented just as she was. Vienna calls the music they make “spooky rock” which simply means these guys bring Somber, rock, pop and eccentric visions to life through music. Bringing in a violin just enhances the essences of the dark elements, the beautiful elements and the vision of what this band is trying to bring to the rock community which is change, creativeness and thinking outside of the box.
NEPTUNE VII is the newest release of the band and has emotional rock elements, personal heart endearing elements and just beauty with the combo of pretty violin and the distorted guitar tones and when you combine it with Vienna’s varied vocal abilities you get something very special.
I got to chat with Larissa Vienna about her band members, the new record and her influences and how they impacted her.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE A VOCALIST AND PERFORMER? -Shirley Temple was the artist who started it all for me. My earliest memories are dressing up like her, tap-dancing, and singing. You couldn't get me to stop performing. My dad built me a little wooden stage to put on our front lawn so I could tap-dance and sing for all the cars that were driving by.
HOW DOES SHIRLEY TEMPLE INTERTWINE WITH THE PERFORMER YOU HAVE BECOME? -Shirley is a legend, she defined an entire era. President Roosevelt even said that as long as the world had Shirley Temple, everything would be okay during the Great Depression. The fact that her talent could make people so happy in such a tough time, that always stuck with me. I've always wanted to provide that sort of happiness for people through my music.
WHERE DOES YOUR MUSICIAL INSPIRATION COME FROM? -I really love artists who are constantly evolving, like David Bowie or Lady Gaga. I'm a chameleon, and I used to be so insecure about never having one "thing" I was doing. Every time I play a show, I look different, my current album is always different from the last, and I've realized that that's okay to not stick with one thing, as long as you genuinely love what you're doing at the moment.
WHO IS THE STRANGE AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THESE PARTICULAR MUSICIANS TO BRING ONTO YOUR PERSONAL JOURNEY?
-THE STRANGE is Nick Workman, Aaron Mendoza, Luke Wolff and Vanity Welch. They're the only lineup I've ever had as LARISSA VIENNA AND THE STRANGE, and I'm very lucky for that. We all get along great. Nick has been playing guitar for me for eight years now - it used to be just him and I at one point. Aaron used to be the bassist of a different band, and I admired his skills so much, the minute he left his previous band I scooped him up four years ago. Luke became a part of THE STRANGE in 2014. He is the most dedicated musician I know, he's constantly practicing and learning the craft of his drums. In fact, he's downstairs practicing as we speak. Vanity, my violinist, was such a gem to find. I met her at a show, she started out as just a fan. She told me she played violin and that music was her passion. I called her one day to see if she would be interested in playing with us, and she already had the songs learned. She came to practice and nailed it. I am so lucky, because not only did I find talented artists, they are my best friends. They are constantly improving and they make me so proud. I wouldn't trade any of them for anything.
THE NEW ALBUM NEPTUNE VII HAS BEEN NOTED AS YOUR MOST PERSONAL PROJECT TO DATE. WHY DID YOU DECIDE THAT THIS WAS THE TIME TO REALLY BRING OUT THESE STORIES?
-I don't exactly think that way. I never have a "concept" for an album, each album just happens to reflect what my life was like at the time I was writing it. Writing NEPTUNE VII was an emotional time in my life. I had heavy episodes of depression, I reconnected with people in my past who I thought I'd never speak to again, and I had such a thirst to push myself as a musician. I'm always honest in my music. I can tell you what every single song is about. The people who listen to my music often are experiencing very similar things that I was experiencing, so it helps us connect to each other. I was hoping in this writing process that I'd be able to help someone, even if just one person, not feel alone.
HOW WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD GROWING UP AND WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS THE TOUGHEST THING ABOUT BEING AN ADULT AND GROWING OLDER?
-My childhood was interesting to say the least. I moved a lot and went to a new school every year - which is where I think my constant need for change comes from. My family was very distant and unaffectionate. We didn't know each other at all. I was the youngest kid and the only girl - my brothers are a few years older than me, so I spent a lot of time alone. To be honest, I can't remember if I was happy or not when I was growing up. I lived in my own world, and I was very creative, I at least remember that. The toughest thing about being an adult is pressure from society, especially as a woman. It's hard to escape. I wrote NEPTUNE VII in the mindset of a child, back before society told you who to be, back when you were authentically YOU because that's all you knew how to do. The hardest part of growing older is losing that. I don't want to lose that.
DO YOU FEEL BRINGING IN THE SOUND OF A VIOLIN HELPS TO ENHANCE A TYPICAL ROCK SOUND AND HOW HAS IT HELPED YOU GUYS IN WRITING?
-Vanity is an amazing violinist. The first couple of EPs we released, she was more of just a rhythm section. Now, she takes the lead in a majority of the songs, the way a guitarist would. It adds a different atmosphere to the music because it's so pretty, yet with the distorted guitar behind it, it's also hard and emotional at the same time.
YOUR MUSIC VIDEOS HAVE BEEN A SUCCESS DO YOU FORSEE HAVING A HEAVY CONTENT OF THEM FOR THIS NEW DISC? -Yes! If I had it my way, I'd make a music video for every single song. I can't wait until the day that I have a large budget so I can build sets and the costumes that I visualize so I can fully bring my world to life for everyone to see.
IF YOU COULD TAKE ONE SONG OFF THE NEW DISC TO REALLY DISPLAY THE GROWTH OF YOU HAS A MUSICIAN WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
-I'm torn between "HAUNTED" and "SURRENDER".HAUNTED is the catchiest song I've ever written - it's more hard-hitting than anything we've released before and I think that's why it's getting so much attention. I am so proud of that song because even though it's rock, the melodies are very pop, and every band member gets to shine with their instrumentation. I use many different parts of my voice in the song, and I know lots of people were pleasantly surprised to hear that range from me, since I used to shy away from it. I also choose "SURRENDER" because in my opinion, that's the best song we've ever released. My guitarist Nick wrote the instrumental, which is different since I usually do that, and I wrote the lyrics, vocals and melody. Everyone in the band sings on the song. It's really our first ballad we've made. It took Nick about 4 hours in the studio to record all the guitar. The violin is complex, as well. Everyone pushed themselves to record that song, I honestly can't listen to it too often because it makes me tear up. I'm so proud of everyone.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TOUR PLANS FOR THE NEW RECORD? -We'll be hitting the road in 2018!
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD WANT FANS OR MUSIC LOVERS TO KNOW ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BAND?
-I'd like the fans to know that I really believe in all of you. So many people come up to me at shows, or send me messages about how they'd like to be a musician, or an artist, or whatever their dreams are. None of us in the band were born with a special set of circumstances that allows us to do this, we simply just do it. You can, too. Go out and create, put your heart in it and never apologize for being passionate.
Lynch Mob--The Brotherhood Rat Pak Records Release: September 8, 2017 BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
Contact the band: Facebook: @lynchmobband
LYNCH MOB has returned with the bands fifth full length studio album and 8th overall music adventure in THE BROTHERHOOD. After 27 years of music making you might think the well could be dry. It seems George Lynch, Oni Logan, Sean Mcnabb and Jimmy D’anda haven’t lost that sense of creativeness with one listen to THE BROTHERHOOD. The overall vibe of the album brings a colder, darker, grittier and bluesy hard rock blend to it.
WHERE WE STARTED is where it started for me this song is groovy, electrifying, sexy and just a melody driven masterpiece. I’LL TAKE MIAMI and LAST CALL LADY are airy melodic and rocking; the two tracks shows a different side of the band on this disc because of their uplifting sound, which is refreshing. UNTIL THE SKY COMES DOWN brings me back to the old Dokken feel of the 80’s especially the intro to the track. The vocal strategy to me changes up a bit which is fun to listen to because you can see the different formats he can sing in. Lynch and Logan is a force to be reckon with together. So it is great to see them still doing music and making some killer songs. BLACK MOUNTAIN has a bluesy rock style, a little grunge and a whole lot of seductive charisma shining through this track. MILES AWAY brings out the ballad and melody driven force of the band. The band has done a few videos already; MAIN OFFENDER was one of them which delivers the heavy guitar riffs in this opening track with Logan’s solid clean hitting rock n roll voice. Then we have the other track MR. JEKYLL AND HYDE which fills your ears with groove and sassy rhythm along with the soul and gritty vocals that has been Logan’s persona since the early 90’s.
All n all THE BROTHERHOOD shows the bond these 4 guys have built in their time together in LYNCH MOB. The fans won’t be disappointed; with the signature Lynch solos and riffs, the passionate and prominent vocal patterns and the sassy and infectious Rhythms section.
The album is not without old school sound of LYNCH MOB but layering it with elements of darker, explorative atmospheric and energizing sounds.
ALTER BRIDGE has been a force to be reckon with in the rock world since the band got together back in 2004. Working their way up the later of success these guys have put in the work after departing from other bands and have made a very very powerful presence and it shows in the bands last two studio records. As a live band, these guys bring the album right to a live show and blasting so much energy and power into every performance.
The band is getting ready to release a pretty big and epic album; LIVE FROM THE O2 + RARITIES a 3-disc ultimate package that takes you with them when they got to play in London at the 02 Arena back in Nov of 2016 to a huge energized crowd. The first two discs is a jammed packed live experience with 19 solid tracks like the masterpiece and highly accepted ISOLATION and the powerful METALINGUS. BLACKBIRD was a crowd favorite this evening and it feels the band that night felt the energy and stepped the song up to even a bigger level. WATCH OVER YOU was pretty and simple in its acoustic form. I really adored the vocals on this live version you can really feel the heart n soul in the lyrics and to be there at that moment feeling the love between fan and musician. Tremonti gives it his all in the mighty WATER RISING. These two vocal presences (Kennedy n Tremonti) just make a statement when they are combined together. ALTER BRIDGE song favorites are all garnished on this live album the band is coming out with but if you think that is all you get well take a moment…….we are not done yet!!!!
This band doesn’t let fans down. The third disc is a full length of rarities that mostly Japan has been able to listen to but now in a few short days the world will be able to capture tracks that never made records and let me tell you there is some really amazing tracks that were placed to the side. THE DAMAGE DONE was a track that had me sit up and take notice its darker, rock induced and melody driven with that signature vocal ambience we have come to love on a ALTER BRIDGE record. BREATHE was another track that I loved. A slower vocal prominent track that has hills n valleys of passion, power and full on beauty. Some of you might have had a taste of this song since it was a bonus track on a Best Buy release of Last Hero. But now with this record it starts the disc and will have your attention. SOLACE is another slower guitar induced track Kennedy’s vocals and Tremonti’s guitar work is a combo a rock lover dreams of. These guys are so flawless together it’s pretty amazing. CRUEL SUN and the two other tracks I talked about prior were all written during the ONE DAY REMAINS sessions (the debut album) and were finally taken out of the ashes and it’s unbelievable how these three songs weren’t on the album because they are something pretty darn special. ZERO impacts you with a rocking more upbeat attitude. It sounds big electric and will be a fan favorite. HOME is a lyrically and passionately displayed sound for rock music in 2017. I loved the sentiment the melody driven rock ambience I would love to see this as a single and a video (hint hint)
LIVE FROM THE O2 + RARITIES is a special gift from ALTER BRIDGE to their fans almost like a thank you for all the love through the years and if that wasn’t enough and you truly are a die-hard BRIDGE fan then you can even order the deluxe version of the package that also comes with an exclusive ALTER BRIDGE documentary, interviews and a look at the place they recorded the live album at.